Tag Archives: connections

What Would Life be Like Without Social Networking?

Someone asked me this earlier on Twitter. You would think it would be simple one to answer. After all, social networking is still in its infancy, right? Wrong! Social networks have been around since before the Internet was actually – well – the Internet. Stop thinking that these words only encompass sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Once you do, many of you will realize that you’ve likely never lived a moment of your life without some form of social networking.

As defined: “A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.” Of course, these networks exist offline, as well. For the sake of this post, we’re going to pretend we are only referring to things found on the Web.

Back in the late 70s through the early 90s, you could connect with others online via a BBS. This is nearly FORTY years ago these things started becoming popular, y’all. The service was used to upload and download software or data, read news and bulletins and exchanging messages with other users. Oh, and there were also games to play against yourself and other members. Hm… this sounds an awful lot like an early version of nearly every social site out there today, doesn’t it?

Social networks are evolving, sure. Sites are coming up with new features and better ways to connect. That supposed innovation comes with a price, though… a huge lack of any form of privacy. We have evolved into a generation of people who claim to care about our privacy yet who continue to post nearly every aspect of our lives online for the world to peruse. We check in and tell others where we are every moment of the day. We send out statuses and messages telling them what we’re doing, who we’re talking to and where we may be headed next. We share nearly everything.

To me, this is the main difference between networks of today and the ones from 30+ years ago. It’s not about the difference in platforms. WE have changed. Yup – Facebook looks slick as hell compared to an old BBS. Twitter is faster and simpler to use. But at the very core of each type of service – where are the true differences – the real innovations?

You should stop asking yourselves what life would be like without social networks. They’ve been around for many more years than you thought, and they aren’t going anywhere. What you should ask yourself, instead, is “How am I going to change the way I use these services throughout my life?”

Find People to Follow on Twitter

Twitter is rolling out a new feature today called “Suggestions for You.” The aim is simple: to help you find and connect with more people who share your interests. The algorithms being used will suggest people that you may find you have something in common with. The suggestions are based on several factors including those you already follow… and the people they, in turn, follow.

Twitter is trying to make it simple. Your suggestions will show up on the main page, as well as in the Find People section. You can choose to follow them with just one click, or ignore the suggestion completely. If you ignore it, the algorithm promises to try not to suggest that user again. I’m actually glad they don’t guarantee it – nothing is perfect. I’d rather be told the truth, thanks much.

You’ll also see recommendations each time you view someone’s profile. Twitter feels that if you’re interested in the person whose page you’re checking out, you may just be interested in the other accounts, as well.

The service states that all of the features will be available for developer use. They’ll be launching an API soon so that third parties can provide the same types of suggestion features in their desktop, mobile and web applications.

All of this is geared towards helping you to connect with a wider audience. As stated on their blog: “Now, go find somebody new to follow. You never know what you might discover.”

Getting Out is a Good Thing

As you may have noticed, I’ve been out and about a lot more recently. I’ve discovered that there are times when going outside, seeing people and doing things isn’t always such a bad thing. I’m still my Geeky self. I still prefer solitude sometimes. I still prefer the company of my dogs and my computers to humans much of the time. However, having been dragged to several local events and attractions by various friends lately has actually been fun. I’ve managed to do and see some things that I’ve said for years now I’d “get around to one day”.

It’s no secret that I’m most comfortable in my house, within my own little Geek world. I have made many amazing connections over the years online. My knowledge and my mind-set have been expanded due to the people I know on the Internet and in our community. I often view things differently due to the way others look at them – helping me to think outside the box.

However, I’m learning all over again that there are connections to be made outside of my comfort zone. There are so many people out there who have interests and thoughts similar to mine – and *gasp* – not all of them can be found on Twitter or Lockergnome or even Geeks! It’s good to get out there and connect with them, and expand my world even further.

Don’t worry, my grasshoppers. I’ll never forget about you. And, no matter what I may go and do during the day, I still have time to keep track of all of you!